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A.J. Muste

Introduction to the Open Letter

(3 August 1933

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 32, 3 August 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Workers Party of the U.S. participates this week in an action of the greatest significance for the international proletariat, viz. the publication of the Open Letter on the Fourth International. Signing this letter in addition to the W.P.U.S. are the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party of Holland (R.S.A.P.), the International Communist League, the Workers Party of Canada and the French Bolshevik-Leninists. Of course the signature of the I.C.L. implies that of its other sections also, Russian, South African, Chilean, Cuban, Chinese, etc.

The signature of the Open Letter by the W.P.U.S. was authorized, depending upon the fulfillment of certain conditions, by the June Plenum of the National Committee of the party. The chief conditions were that the S.A.P. (Socialist Workers Party of Germany) should be given a month’s time to join with other signers, the S.A.P. having been one of the signers of the Declaration of Four in 1933 where the concept

of the Fourth International was proclaimed; that the headquarters of the Provisional Contact Committee provided for in the Open Letter be Amsterdam; and that certain paragraphs dealing with the Franco-Soviet pact and with the situation in the U.S. and other American countries be included.

The S.A.P. expresses sympathy with the movement to build the Fourth International but asks that parties such as the W.P. join the I.A.G. (London-Amsterdam Bureau of centrist parties), a condition which the W.P. plenum rejected.

The other conditions laid down by the W.P. have been fulfilled.

In accordance, therefore with the action of the June Plenum of the N.C. the Political Committee of the Party has ordered the publication of the Open Letter in our official organ as the official proclamation to the world labor movement of our concurrence in the Open Letter and renewed evidence of our determination to proceed as rapidly as possible to the building of the Fourth International.

In this hour of mounting war danger and on the other hand of renewed evidence of capitulation of the Second and Third Internationals to social patriotism, the W.P.U.S. joins with joy, pride and hope in raising higher the banner of the Fourth International. We call upon the workers and intellectuals throughout the world, and especially here in the United States, to whatever organization they may today belong, to read and study the Open Letter and in the light of its contents and the present world situation to determine where their allegiance belongs. We have no time to lose in deciding bow the working class may be saved from fresh betrayals and defeats, under what banner and how the vanguard and the masses may be rallied for the revolutionary victory over capitalism and the building of a workers’ world.


A.J. Muste
National Sec’y

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